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World Wildlife Day

Trinidad & Tobago has some bold wildlife species, and we'd be lying if we said we're not fond of bold/unique. We wanted to take some time to appreciate our favourite Trinidad and Tobago wildlife. As we celebrate World Wildlife Day, it's time to shine a spotlight on the incredible biodiversity of Trinidad & Tobago. In this note, we explore some of our favourite local animals.


Note banner, image of an ocelot



Tufted Coquette

(Lophornis Ornatus)


Image; Tufted Coquette  (Lophornis Ornatus)

The Tufted Coquette, scientifically known as Lophornis ornatus, is a species of hummingbird native to Trinidad and Tobago and nearby regions in South America. This diminutive bird is characterized by its striking plumage and distinctive tuft of feathers on its head, which gives it its name. The male Tufted Coquette boasts vibrant green and coppery-gold feathers, while the female displays a more subdued green and white colouration.


These tiny birds primarily inhabit forested areas, feeding on nectar from various flowers using their specialized, elongated bills. They are known for their agile flight manoeuvres, including hovering mid-air while feeding. Despite their small size, Tufted Coquettes play an essential role in pollinating flowers and contributing to the biodiversity of their habitats.



Scarlet Ibis

(Eudocimus Ruber)

Image; Scarlet Ibis  (Eudocimus Ruber)

The Scarlet Ibis, scientifically known as Eudocimus ruber, is a bird species native to Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and South America. It is renowned for its stunning scarlet plumage, which becomes even more vibrant during breeding season. The colouration of the Scarlet Ibis is due to its diet, which includes crustaceans and other sources of carotenoid pigments. These birds are typically found in coastal areas, including mangroves, mudflats, and estuaries. They are social creatures, often forming large flocks, especially during breeding. Scarlet Ibis pairs engage in elaborate courtship displays, including synchronized flights and vocalizations.


Ocelot

(Leopardus Pardalis Melanurus)

Image; Ocelot (Leopardus Pardalis Melanurus)

The Ocelot, scientifically known as Leopardus pardalis melanurus, is a medium-sized wild cat native to Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of Central and South America. It is characterized by its beautiful, spotted coat, which provides excellent camouflage in its forested habitats. The Ocelot's coat can vary in colour, ranging from tawny to reddish-brown, with distinctive black rosettes and stripes.

These elusive cats are primarily nocturnal hunters, preying on various small mammals, birds, and reptiles. They are skilled climbers and swimmers, allowing them to navigate their diverse habitats easily. Despite their solitary nature, Ocelots are known to communicate with other individuals through vocalizations and scent marking.


Red Howler

(Alouatta Macconnelli)

Image; Red Howler (Alouatta Macconnelli)

The Red Howler, scientifically known as Alouatta McConnell, is a species of monkey native to Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of South America. It is known for its loud, distinctive calls, which can be heard echoing through the forest canopy. The name "Howler" refers to the male's deep, booming vocalizations, which are used to establish territory and communicate with other group members.

These arboreal primates primarily inhabit tropical rainforests, where they feed on a diet of leaves, fruits, and flowers. They live in social groups known as troops, which typically consist of multiple females and their offspring, along with one or more dominant males. Red Howlers are essential seed dispersers, playing a vital role in maintaining the health of their forest ecosystems.


Leatherback Sea Turtle

(Dermochelys Coriacea)

Image; Leatherback Sea Turtle  (Dermochelys Coriacea)

The Leatherback Sea Turtle, scientifically known as Dermochelys coriacea, is the largest turtle species in the world and is found in Trinidad and Tobago's coastal waters. Unlike other sea turtles, the Leatherback lacks a hard shell and has a flexible, leathery carapace, giving it its name. This unique adaptation allows the Leatherback to dive to incredible depths for its primary prey, jellyfish.

These majestic turtles undertake long-distance migrations, travelling thousands of miles between foraging and nesting grounds. Trinidad and Tobago's beaches are important nesting sites for Leatherback Sea Turtles, where females come ashore to lay their eggs. Despite their large size, Leatherbacks face numerous threats, including habitat destruction, pollution, and accidental capture in fishing gear.


Green Iguana

(Iguana Iguana)

Image; Green Iguana (Iguana Iguana)

The Green Iguana, scientifically known as Iguana iguana, is a lizard species native to Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of Central and South America. It is characterized by its vibrant green colouration and prominent dewlap for communication and territorial displays. Green Iguanas are arboreal creatures, spending much of their time in trees and shrubs.

These herbivorous reptiles feed on various leaves, flowers and fruits and are known to bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. They are excellent climbers and swimmers, utilizing their powerful limbs and long tails to navigate their forested habitats. Despite their popularity in the pet trade, Green Iguanas face threats from habitat loss and invasive species.


Tree Boa

(Corallus ruschenbergerii)

Image; Tree Boa (Corallus ruschenbergerii)

The Tree Boa, scientifically known as Corallus ruschenbergerii, is a species of non-venomous snake native to Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of Central and South America. It is characterized by its striking colouration, which can vary from shades of green to brown, with distinctive patterns and markings. Tree Boas are arboreal snakes, spending much of their time in trees and bushes, hunting for prey.

These nocturnal hunters feed on various small mammals, birds, and reptiles, using their sharp teeth and powerful constriction to subdue their prey. Tree Boas are adept climbers, using their prehensile tails and muscular bodies to move through the branches quickly. Despite their cryptic colouration, Tree Boas are critical in controlling populations of small rodents and other pests.


Blue Land Crab

(Cardisoma Guanhumi)

Blue Land Crab  (Cardisoma Guanhumi)

The Blue Land Crab, scientifically known as Cardisoma guanhumi, is a species of terrestrial crab native to Trinidad and Tobago, as well as other parts of the Caribbean and Central America. It is characterized by its vibrant blue carapace and distinctive clawed limbs, which it uses for burrowing and defence. Blue Land Crabs are primarily found in coastal habitats, including mangroves, salt marshes, and sandy beaches.


These omnivorous crustaceans feed on various plant matter, residue, and small animals, using their powerful claws to crush and manipulate their food. They are known for their annual migrations from the forest to the coast, where females release their eggs into the ocean. Blue Land Crabs are essential in nutrient cycling and ecosystem health, serving as predators and prey in their coastal habitats.


Trinidad Poison Frog

(Mannophryne Trinitatis)

Image; Trinidad Poison Frog  (Mannophryne Trinitatis)

The Trinidad Poison Frog, scientifically known as Mannophryne trinitatis, is a species of frog native to Trinidad and Tobago, found in the island's moist forests and riparian habitats. It is characterized by its bright colouration, which warns potential predators of its toxic skin secretions. Trinidad Poison Frogs exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males typically displaying brighter colours than females.

These tiny amphibians feed primarily on insects and other small invertebrates, using their long, sticky tongues to capture their prey. They are known for their complex courtship behaviours, which may involve vocalizations, visual displays, and tactile interactions. Despite their small size, Trinidad Poison Frogs play an essential role in controlling insect populations and contributing to the overall biodiversity of their habitats.


Common Morpho

(Morpho Helenor)

Image; Trinidad Poison Frog (Mannophryne Trinitatis)

The Common Morpho, scientifically known as Morpho helenor, is a species of butterfly native to Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of Central and South America. It is characterized by its stunning iridescent blue wings, which shimmer in the sunlight and capture the imagination of all who behold it. The bright blue colouration of the Common Morpho's wings is due to microscopic scales that reflect and refract light.

These butterflies primarily inhabit tropical forests, feeding on the nectar of flowers and engaging in courtship behaviours. They are known for their distinctive flight patterns, which include rapid wing beats and gliding. Common Morphos play an essential role in pollinating flowers and contributing to the health of their forest ecosystems. Despite their delicate appearance, they are capable of migrating long distances in search of suitable habitats and food sources. #WorldWildlifeDay #WWLD24

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